My theory being that a builder is a builder. His address is not important. If all the best builders in the Maine decided they didn't want to deal with winter anymore and moved to North Carolina to build their boats... They wouldn't be carolina boats would they?
I'm no expert, and would differ to the boat builders on this forum every day of the week... But IMHO, I don't believe it matters where the boat is constructed. However, the design or concept of a Downeast boat should have originally been conceived in "Downeast Maine".
Traditionally a downeast hull will have a single engine inboard, semi-displacement, and have a fine entry and a round chine. A full length keel with transition to a relatively flat aft section of the hull is a strong characteristic.
Variations of this theme can be "skeg built" versus "built down", and soft versus hard chine. A hard chine boat will tend to plane more readily, and be faster, and would probably be less forgiving in a following sea, and less "rolley" (sp?) on a drift or beam sea.
Skeg built boats may tend to be faster, with their very flat run aft. Built downs are often better heavy weather boats and can generally carry more weight. Itâ€™s also easier to get an engine under the floor, alleviating the need for an engine box.
A traditionalist would not call my little pilot house a Downeaster, as it has an outboard and tiny little keel. To each his own, I really enjoy the simplicity of a modern 4 stroke, lack of through-hull openings, and tremendous space on my deck sans an engine box. I really enjoy getting into super skinny water (less than a foot) with my configuration. YMMV.
The design was developed by guys like Spencer Lincoln for the working maine fisherman. Criteria was it had to be sea kindly, easily driven, sea worthy, economical, simple in design. etc. Out of this came the downeast design. Developed in Maine. The original question was what defines a downeast boat.
It seems to me the Downeast label is used very loosely and that may be because there may not be a specific definition. I as many others seem to have my own criteria for Downeast. I also allow for the many boats of semidysplacement build that have some Downeast features either funtional or asthetic and might call those boats Downeast type. The mass producers and salesman often use the term very loosely. I would love to see some kind of consensus on the issue. maybe this site could put together some criteria and put it to a vote of the people interested in the subject in order to establish a standard at least for this site.
If the designer and the builder are designing /building a boat in Maine, that is in the typical tradition of what made downeast boats famious, Its a downeast. Even if some of the shops are a little south of downeast.
@lobstercatcher....I beg to differ on that one.
It can be built anywhere. But its marked by the features that we hold dear here on the downeastboat forum...
1) a sharp and deep entry at the bow that becomes progressively wider away from the bow
2) a rounded bilge with or without a means of tracking (or skeg)
3) an almost flat bottom at aft
4) and like I said where function meets form and simplicity reigns supreme